THE KIERNAN SURFING STORY:
The Kiernan Surfing Association was founded by a group of young wave riders in 1965 who were looking for a place to surf. It all began with a beach located at the end of Kiernan Boulevard in North Long Branch, NJ, and the amazing surf that broke on its shores. In the sixties, the shifting sands off the jetty at the end of Kiernan Boulevard had set up perfectly to deliver the largest and longest riding waves in the area, and before long some of the best surfers in New Jersey began gathering to ride these swells. As was the problem for surfers across New Jersey at the time, most beaches were privately owned by beach clubs that did not allow surfing. Consequently, there were no free beaches for surfers.
The Kiernan Beach was owned by George Savoth, who also owned the adjoining beach club, White Sands. As George Savoth looked down the beach from his White Sands Beach Club, he could see that he had a problem. He had big waves breaking perfectly on his property, and a growing group of surfers out there riding them. Unlike most beach club owners, George was not opposed to the idea of his beach being used for surfing, but he was concerned about the liability he would incur if any of the surfers either injured themselves or others on his property. He also recognized that enforcing a “no surfing” policy on the property would be expensive, time consuming, and ultimately impossible, as vanloads of surfers were now showing up at all hours to ride the biggest and best waves around.
After a while, a meeting was arranged between a small group of the wave riders and George to see if they could find a solution that would allow them to legally use the beach. With the help of one of the surfer’s fathers who was an attorney, an agreement was struck between George and the surfers that would allow them to lease the beach for the symbolic cost of $1.00, under the condition that the surfers would patrol it, perform their own lifeguarding duties and keep it clean. The cost of providing insurance to protect George against any accidental injuries was covered by charging each surfer a $20. annual membership fee. So, with this agreement between the beach owners and the surfers, The Kiernan Surfing Association was born. Over one hundred surfers joined the association at its inception.
Over the fifty plus years of the Kiernan Surfing Association’s existence, members of the group consisted of some of New Jersey’s very best wave riders, and many of the relationships formed during those years have lasted a lifetime.
We are looking forward to the next 50 years.